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Tag: jordan peele

Editorials

Inside the Mind of Jordan Peele

July 23, 2020

Even if you are unfamiliar with his face or his name, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t know his work. Half of the comedy duo “Key and Peele”, their sketches have amassed millions of views since they were uploaded online after their show. The voice of Bunny in Toy Story 4 and the mastermind behind Get Out and the reboot of The Twilight Zone. Jordan Peele has made a name for himself and cannot easily be placed into one box.

From his work on the oscar-nominated Get Out, which won him the best original screenplay accolade and his follow up Us. He has also made a name for himself and his production company in the horror genre, producing the upcoming Candyman reboot.

Who is he?

Keegan-Micheal Key and Jordan Peele
Keegan-Micheal Key and Jordan Peele (Indiewire, 2009)

Peele got his break on Mad TV, a sketch comedy show, where he also met Keegan-Michael Key. The two would then go on to make their own sketch show Key and Peele which ran from 2012 to 2015, and several skits went viral online. Their success spawned Keanu a buddy comedy where the two rescue a cat from gangsters. It received positive reviews and the duo continued acting together, playing FBI agents in the first season of Fargo and stuffed fairground toys in Toy Story 4.

While his comedy had made him well known, he has also made a name for himself in the horror genre with his directorial debut Get Out. A social thriller tackling race issues, it had a great buzz and earned Oscar nominations. Peele won for Best Original Screenplay making him the first African American to win the award.

In an interview, Peele compared his comedy background to his horror feature, and how the genres have some things in common. How both are often used to shine a light on society and issues, and how they often hinge on reveals. While they are usually considered opposites, they are rather alike and humour is often sprinkled into his films. He carried this into his next film Us. Where Get Out dealt with race, this focused on class and privilege. It also received great reviews, although no Oscar nominations.

Peele’s work often has something to say, which is apparent in his films as well as The Twilight Zone, an anthology which usually ends with a twist and a moral. Peele narrates the series, in place of Rod Serling, who gives the opening and closing narration to each episode,

Monkeypaw Productions

Get Out, Momkeypaw Production
Peele’s work often comes through his production company, Monkeypaw Productions (Monkeypaw Productions, 2019)

In 2012, Peele founded Monkeypaw Productions, which produced the series Key and Peele as well as the duo’s feature film Keanu which Peele wrote and starred in. Peele has slowly stopped acting, finding directing more fun. It probably helps this his two efforts so far, Get Out and Us have been hugely successful, both having scored over 80 on Metacritic.

As well as his own work, Monkeypaw also produces work from other writers, with them producing Spike Lee’s BlackKklansmen as well as the upcoming Candyman reboot. They are also involved in the latest iteration of The Twilight Zone, with Peele also narrating. Several other projects are also in development, like Lovecraft Country and the second season of Amazon’s Hunters.

The Future

Jordan Peele
Peele presents “The Twilight Zone” as well as producing (Vulture, 2019)

Peele doesn’t seem like he is going anywhere anytime soon. Although he is moving away from acting he is still actively writing, producing and has ideas for his next few films already. Some of his sketches have had features developed around them for a while, but time will tell if anything comes of them. Most people are likely excited for his next feature, although he appears to be focused on Candyman which he is producing. There are currently no hints as to what his next feature could be, but it’s sure to be excellent.

Also Read: My Favourite Actor: Octavia Spencer

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Editorials

The Best of Blumhouse

July 21, 2020
Blumhouse Productions

Blumhouse has an incredibly varied history. Having produced three of the top twenty highest-grossing horror films of all time (Split, Halloween (2018) and Get Out), some well-regarded Oscar contenders and it’s responsible for giving several great modern directors their first directorial credit.

Today we’re going to look at what makes Blumhouse special by finding out more about their company ethos and history. And listing off the five best films that Blumhouse has produced.

About Blumhouse

Blumhouse Productions was founded in 2000 by Jason Blum. The studio’s goal is to produce high-quality micro-budget films. These projects can then be sold to wide audiences through big studio distribution. Its first big success was 2009s Paranormal Activity, which Paramount distributed. On a $15,000 budget, it made over $193 million worldwide, putting Blumhouse on the map. Blumhouse has since had many big studios distribute their movies. Such as Netflix, Warner Bros., and in 2014, they signed a 10 year deal with Universal. Which has helped many of their productions to gain more attention through Universal’s marketing.

Blumhouse is also a haven for creatives. As it allows the filmmakers creative freedom to make the projects they want to make, even if many aren’t well received. Consequently, they have attracted a wide range of established directors to work with them. Such as M. Night Shyamalan, James Wan, Spike Lee, and more. And as previously mentioned Blumhouse has been a starting platform for several acclaimed modern filmmakers. Like Jordan Peele, Leigh Whannell, and Joel Edgerton. But what are the best projects Blumhouse has had a hand in?

Blumhouse’s Top 5 Films

1. Whiplash

Andrew wants to be a well-respected drummer, but his teacher Fletcher believes that to achieve greatness you must be truly ruthless. With the borderline abuse Fletcher heaps on him, can Andrew achieve his dream and keep his sanity? Blumhouse not only helped Damien Chazelle to produce Whiplash but also produced the original Whiplash short film to attract investors. Allowing us to get my personal favorite Blumhouse film.

Whiplash [Source: Evening Standard]
Fletcher pushing Andrew to the limit in Whiplash [Source: Evening Standard]

2. Get Out

Jordan Peele’s directorial debut about a white woman, Rose, taking her black boyfriend, Chris, to meet her outwardly progressive, but secretly shady family was an immediate smash hit with critics and audiences. It also became one of the few horror films to be nominated for best picture and became the highest-grossing feature debut by a black director in history. Get Out is probably Blumhouse’s most significant contribution to modern horror.

Get Out [Source: Vox]
Chris can’t move in Get Out [Source: Vox]

3. BlacKkKlansman

BlacKkKlansman follows black police officer Ron Stallworth, who infiltrates the Ku Klux Klan over the phone. With the help of white Jewish officer, Flip Zimmerman, he aims to prevent violence from the KKK. While a coproduction the film embodies the Blumhouse spirit of low budget passion projects with a message similar to other Blumhouse projects like The Purge. BlacKkKlansman is both incredibly entertaining and incendiary regarding its message. The fact that Blumhouse was willing to commit to something so outrageous shows why it has gained a lot of good faith from filmmakers.

Blackkklansman produced by Blumhouse [Source: The Economist]
Ron Stallworth and Patrice Dumas in BlacKkKlansman [Source: The Economist]

4. Split

Three girls are kidnapped by a man named Kevin. They discover that Kevin has twenty-three different personalities. And another personality, “The Beast”, will soon be manifesting itself, aiming to kill the girls. Can the girls make it out of their prison before it’s too late? Of M. Night Shyamalan’s Blumhouse films (the others being The Visit and Glass) this is undoubtedly the best. With two incredible performances from James McAvoy and Anya Taylor-Joy, a story that keeps you hooked with fascinating characters; a good level of suspense, Split is a rewarding ride.

Split from Blumhouse [Source: The Jakarta Post]
One of Kevin’s other personalities, Patricia, looking intimidating in Split [Source: The Jakarta Post]

5. The Invisible Man (2020)

With Elisabeth Moss’ bravura performance, an intriguing story about a woman fleeing from her abusive scientist boyfriend only for him to use his scientific knowledge to wreak havoc on her life and sanity and beautiful direction that builds tension to almost unbearable levels simply by using negative space within a shot, The Invisible Man (2020) is a great showcase for what low budget horror is capable of.

Blumhouse's The Invisible Man [Source: Variety]
Elisabeth Moss giving an incredible performance in The Invisible Man (2020) [Source: Variety]

And so ends our foray into the best that Blumhouse has to offer. Have I missed any of your favourites? Be sure to tell me your Blumhouse recommendations in the comments.

Also Read: What Happens To Your Brain When You Watch A Horror Film

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Reviews

Rachael RnR Reviews Jordan Peele’s “Us”

March 30, 2019
Us Review Rachael RnR

Written & directed by Jordan Peele, YouTuber & Presenter, Rachel RNR reviews the blockbuster horror “Us”.

What’s it about?

Haunted by a traumatic experience from the past, Adelaide grows increasingly concerned that her past will catch up to her. Her worst fears soon become a reality when four masked strangers descend upon the house, forcing the Wilsons into a fight for survival.

“Us” is currently available to watch in cinemas.

Reviews

Review: Us [Spoiler Free]

March 25, 2019

An onslaught of violence, terror and doppelgangers in new horror film, Us.

What’s Going On?

A family holiday back to the beach she visisted as a child brings back unsettling memories for Adelaide and triggers a sense of something truly terrible coming. Unfortunately, her feelings are proven right when late at night a group of four people, a family, are spotted hanging around outside their holiday home. As Gabe, husband and father, confronts the group things quickly escalate and soon it’s a house invasion at which point Adelaide, Gabe and their children realise their attackers look exactly like them.

Behind The Scenes

This is the second film by Jordan Peele after 2017’s Oscar-winning Get Out and expectations are high. Peele was known primarily for many years as one half of comedy sketch group Key and Peele, who while not well known in the UK were a big deal in America. After two films Peele is already making a name for himself as a master of horror and he seems like the perfect person to present the rebooted Twilight Zone. As someone who is not a huge horror fan Peele’s films have had a big impact on me.

In Front Of The Camera

Most of the cast play two characters so Winston Duke has to be both reassuring father Gabe and violent brute, Abraham. While the focus is on the whole family Lupita Nyong’o is undoubtedly the star of the movie with two amazing performances as Adelaide and her doppelganger, Red. The children, Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex, are both great and are especially creepy when being the doppelgangers.

Does It Work?

As I said, expectations were high after Get Out and this film met those high expectations. As soon as the doppelgangers arrive the film is a non-stop terrifying ride. Each doppelganger is their own unique brand of horrifying: Adelaide’s speaking in a rasping voice about what horror she has been through and what awaits, Gabe’s is a brute dishing out violence at any opportunity, Zora (the daughter) has an unsettling manic look to her and Jason (the son) acts more like an animal, scuttling around the room with a very creepy mask. Each doppelganger takes on the original in an apt way (e.g. Zora is told to run and is chased by her double as Zora had recently discussed quitting Track and Field events) which suggests an in-depth knowledge of the family.

The film has many twists and turns and unexpected events so I won’t go too much into the plot so as to avoid spoilers. The normalcy of the family at the beginning sets up a wonderful family life. Gabe is such a “Dad” character making stupid jokes, telling off the children and insisting on planning activities none of the others wanted to do – I assure you, Gabe, nobody wanted to go fishing. There are problems that are hinted at such as Adelaide’s possibly traumatic past and how Jason seems to always wear a mask (I couldn’t work out whether it was meant to be Chewbacca or just a generic creature) but overall they seemed a very happy family. The film also manages to be funny, especially before the horror gets going, it’s a rather nice comedy of a happy family and is a gentle reminder that for a long time Jordan Peele was primarily a comedian.

Adelaide’s character goes on a harrowing journey that begins with her as a terrified mother, relying on her husband or the curiously missing police to save them to a truly formidable presence. It is hard to overstate just how brilliant Lupita Nyong’o is in the film, playing the fragile Adelaide or giving intense monologue’s as Red to Adelaide finding her strength.

The film primarily seems to be about identity and the feeling of how if things had been different you could be a completely different person. What connection does a genuine doppelganger have with you? Who has the greater claim to “your” identity? Does undergoing horror make you horrific? Are we only good because we live in a pleasant society where you can make a life without being bad? The viewer is left to make up their own mind about most of this.

Of course this isn’t just a philosophical film about identity but a brutal horror movie. The violence feels awfully real and a great deal of convincing blood is shed. The sheer oddity of battling a mirror image of yourself increases the disturbing nature and surely everyone watching would be imagining how they would have handled their own evil doppelganger.

The films looks great. The doppelgangers have a very distinct look, wearing identical red boilersuits and a single leather glove and all are armed with very sharp scissors (at the cinema I saw the film at the staff wore the same red boilersuits). The image of the doppelgangers standing outside in the darkness, barely illuminated, is very disturbing and memorable. Jason, the first to spot them, instantly identifies them as a family and I think that is exactly how they appear. The beach town is a beautiful backdrop to the horrors than unfold, a favourite touch of mine was the carnival attraction that young Adelaide gets lost in, in the 1980s its a cultural appropriating Native American “spirit journey” but in the present a more generic, and less offensive, Wizard Forest.

The film also uses music really well. I don’t know if I’ll ever listen to Good Vibrations by The Beach Boys without getting a chill down my spine. But there is a trade-off that because of this film I might laugh at Fuck The Police by N.W.A. The original soundtrack is positively chilling with the song “Anthem” bringing dread, fear and auditory flashbacks to many other great horror film soundtracks.

This film is a success on every level and I’m surprised to say that I might have actually enjoyed this film more than Get Out. If you’re a fan of horror or not go and see this film – albeit it might be too much for the very squeamish or easily creeped out.

Verdict: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Us (Official Trailer)